Hot and Cold Peat Smoking Process

We have a custom hot smoker box containing eight trays of perforated stainless wedge wire, each measuring 5’x5’, filled with a couple of inches of dampened pale malt. At the bottom of the smoking box is a steel box measuring 2’ x 2’ x 8”, into which we place chunks of peat. Below this box is a gas paella burner. We ignite the gas to heat the bottom of the peat until it begins smoking and smoldering. Once lit, we cut off the gas supply and allow the peat to burn. As the smoker heats up, smoke billows out from the sides. We don't provide any specific outlet for the smoke except through the edges of the door.

This method has been our approach to smoking peat for the past 14 years, constituting the second iteration of our smoking box. It began as a significant experiment, and confirmation of its success came years later with the maturation of our fantastic peated whisky.

This technique allows us to closely control the peat smoking process. We can utilise different levels of peat; fog, yarvi, and peat, to capture various phenolics, adjusting the duration of smoking to determine the intensity of the peat aroma.
The demand for our peated whisky exceeds our limited production capacity. Although labour-intensive and time-consuming, the resulting whisky justifies the effort.

In the last two years, we've made improvements by introducing an off-take fan and ducting to capture escaping smoke. We channel this smoke into a separate 400-gallon tank housing malted barley. Originally a mash tun that we had outgrown and left unused, one of our distillers suggested converting it into an experimental malt smoking vessel. The cool smoke is introduced via ducting beneath a 2” bed of malted barley (approximately 300kg), wafting up through the bed as it's periodically stirred by a mash stirring paddle. This method is proving successful, and we already have whisky aging in barrels using this cold smoking process. It's an entirely new experiment, and the new make spirit from the cold smoking process shows promise. I eagerly anticipate tasting it as a fully matured product. This advancement will enable us to significantly increase production of our award-winning peated malts, potentially by tenfold in the years to come.
This is undoubtedly good news for malt whisky enthusiasts.

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